tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN December 30, 2016 12:00am-1:01am PST
. barack obama retaliates against russia, sanctions issued, diplomats ejected while donald trump says it is time to move on. >> plus, in syria a nationwide ceasefire, but not all groups are involved in it. >> and later, a killer with a conscience. meet the man who claims he killed dozens of people under orders from rodrigo duarte, now president of the philippines. >> a president who has admitted to doing the same. live from cnn headquarters in atlanta, welcome to viewers around the states and the world. i'm george howard. >> i'm natalie allen. this is "cnn newsroom." ♪
as we begin with russia at the center of a cyber war and a ceasefire. >> it is presently 11:00 a.m. in moscow. we are still monitoring, waiting for new reaction coming from that nation, this after the united states slapped russia with unprecedented new sanctions, all punishment for its alleged meddling in the u.s. election. >> it is 10:00 a.m. in syria now and the world is holding its breath as a fragile nationwide ceasefire appears to be hold in. russia and turkey brokered the truce. we will get more on that in a moment. >> first of the sanctions, russia vowing to respond in kind. moscow denies hacking the dnc. the democratic national committee or trying to influence the u.s. election. >> mr. obama is not convinced. he is expelling 35 russian diplomats from the u.s., imposing sanctions on russian intelligence and three russian companies. the u.s. is closing two russian compounds if maryland and new york. cnn's athena jones has details on what other punishment the u.s. has in store.
>> reporter: in a statement the treasury department named nine entities and individuals now subject to expanded sanctions, including russia's military intelligence unit and its head, as well as the domestic security service. the state department following suit, declaring 35 russian intelligence operatives persona non-grata and giving the spies 72 hours to leave the country. the government also shutting down two russian government-owned compound, one in new york and this one on the eastern shore of maryland. in a white house statement, the president said all-americans should be alarmed by russia's actions and repeated that the activities could only have been directed by the highest levels of the russian government. these moves come as president-elect donald trump continues to dismiss the u.s. intelligent assessment of russian interference in the presidential election. >> i think we ought to get on
with our lives. i think the computers complicated lives very greatly. the whole, you know, age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what is going on. >> while trump has resisted blaming russia, members of his own party are standing behind the obama administration, promising to impose additional sanctions in congress. senator lindsey graham on a congressional delegation to russia's neighboring states took on trump's comments. >> i think most of us, democrats and republicans, really believe russia is up to no good all over the world. they're trying to break the back of democracy, and if we don't push back against putin, iran and china they could hack into our systems. >> reporter: intelligence officials attributed the attacks on u.s. political groups and officials on the dnc to russia. before the announcement of the u.s. retaliation, russia promised a response. a spokes woman for the foreign minister saying in a statement,
frankly speaking, we are tired about lies about russian hackers that continue to be spread in the united states from the very top, and we can only add that if washington takes new hostile steps it will receive an answer. the white house is ready to respond, whatever actions russia takes. >> we can anticipate a response of some kind, but the truth is that we enjoy the greatest capabilities of any country on earth. that's offensive and defensive. that applies to cyber space but it also applies to diplomatic resources, intelligence resource, and tools we have in our tool box to hold countries accountable like sanctions. >> reporter: and that russian response is coming soon. russian's foreign mind city spokeswoman saying in a statement on facebook russia will announce retaliation measures on friday saying, quote, tomorrow will be the owe feshl statements, counter measures and a lot of other things. back to you. >> we're joined now by
christopher hill, the former u.s. ambassador to iraq and south korea and author of the book "outpost, a dip llomat at work." it is great to have you with us. given your posts around the world, your relationships with allies who count on the u.s. to stand up for them, is the united states sending the right message around the world that it will not tolerate this type of behavior not only for itself but also for other allies if they might be challenged? >> well, i think the u.s. is sending out a very strong signal, but it is pretty clear that the -- you know, they had the goods on the russians. this was not one agency, it was all of the agencies, and they all came to the same conclusion based on the evidence. that also goes for a number of congressmen who are in various committees, have also been briefed on this. they also come to the same conclusion. so i think it is a very strong and necessary move. of course, the question will be what are the russians going to do next and then what do -- what will our response be to that
response, and that's where this whole issue can get very dicey. >> well, you say they all came to the same conclusion except for the president-elect, soon to be president trump come january 20th. he has a very dismissive tone to all of this. >> yeah, he certainly has had that. i must say his latest utterance on the subject was he's going to get briefed somehow in the next few day, and so i think he is leaving the door open a little to his joining with everyone else. but you're quite right, and i think it speaks to the fact that he really does need to start going to these briefings and taking a lot of this seriously because it is going to, you know, land smack dab in the middle of it after january 20th. >> are you also concerned about this escalating since russia is already promising to retaliate? >> yeah. i mean escalating, that's always the trick with these types of moves. i remember when i was serving in poland way back, my first time i was in poland, it was with the
communist government and they had done some things and so we went after them. they -- they threatened to come after us, and i remember our assistant secretary for europe at the time, larry eagleberger said, look, if you want to come after us, we will go right back after you. we are willing to take this relationship to zero because, frankly speaking, we don't care. and i don't think that's the position we want to take with the current russian government, but nonetheless i don't think we can allow them to get the better of us in any escalation. >> as a former u.s. ambassador, help us to understand who these 35 russian diplomats are that are ordered to lae. who are they? why is it an important step for the white house to take? >> you know, the technical term is usually with diplomats, they are being expelled because they are engaged in activities that are not consistent with their diplomatic standing. so usually they picked out people who they believe are
involved in clan destin gathering of information. normally they don't just go after people who are people doing what diplomats do, that is talking to other diplomats, talking to members of the state department and reporting on those conversations. they usually are going after people they have reason to believe are involved with clan destined activities. i think it was a targeted response. they didn't pick the names out of a phone book, they knew who they were talking about and they also knew something about the facilities in maryland and new york that were shut down. >> all right. so these are the sanctions. we know the 35 people that are involved here, but the question is will president-elect, soon-to-be president trump reverse it all? are you concerned about that and what message will that send? >> well, you know, we have to see what he does after he sees the evidence. i think -- >> the evidence, the evidence has been out there from many different intelligence agencies. it's been out there, but still
seems to dismiss it. >> yeah. i can assure you there's more evidence even than the evidence that's been out there. i'm sure there's a lot of stuff that the administration has not wanted to release but will do so in private briefings. so i mean he will have to look at all of this. and how could he reverse it? well, let's say the russians come back and ask for 35-ask for those 35 people to come back to their posts. i suppose he can issue an order that they should be. i have a feeling he is not going to do that. so i think this is -- he's probably going to let this one stand. but, you know, he's -- he prides himself on doing the unexpected, so we'll have to see. >> we will have to see. former ambassador christopher hill. thank you so much for your insights and your time today. >> thank you. joining us to talk more about the sanctions against russia and the presidential transition is betsy wood rough, politics reporter for the daily beast, and larry sab toe is
director of politics at the university of virginia. thanks for joining us. >> good to have you guys with us. let's start first with the sanctions and donald trump's response to the sanctions if we could take it here full. he says, quote, it is time for our country to move on to bigger and better things. nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people i will meet with the leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation. larry, this first question to you. so despite the fact that the u.s. intelligence agencies, these many agencies with confidence came together with this very specific finding, donald trump still has doubts. what's the play here? >> well, it is an extraordinary statement by the president-elect. it is odd in lots of different ways because donald trump is in disagreement not just with the intelligence community, not just with the obama administration, but also with republicans and the leadership of the gop in
both the u.s. house of representatives and the u.s. senate. they all think it is a big thing. so this is just another indication of the massive change that we're going to experience in the united states on january 20th. betsy though quickly to you, if donald trump though were to accept the finding of the u.s. intelligence community, would that in fact be him accepting also the questions about his legitimacy with regards to his win for the presidency? >> i don't think it would, and that's because these russian hacks that occurred didn't actually affect the way that votes were cast. we know conclusively, the intel community has said as conclusively as possible that russian actors did not manipulate the number of votes that were cast. what they did was present information that otherwise would not have been available that may have influenced the way some people thought about the election, but they didn't actually change the way the voting passed. that means, look, people can decide to vote based on whatever they want to decide to vote on.
this is how democracy works. if people decided to vote based on the wikileaks e-mails or things john podesta wrote, that's their decision, not russia's decision. >> there are concerns the sanctions may only last until trump is sworn in, but listen to what lisa monaco told cnn. >> i will tell you the reversal of sanctions such as you describe would be highly unusual. indeed, the sanctions usually remain in place until the activity and the reasons for them being imposed in the first place has been removed. >> of course, the trump team doesn't seem to acknowledge fully russia is behind the hacking. betsy, do you expect president trump will undo all of this? >> it is a really good question, and it is not something that will be easy to predict. i think there's certainly a possibility. that said, trump hasn't failed a number of administrative jobs -- he hasn't pick some of his closest advisers who will be handling russia issues.
of course, rex tillerson, his nominee to be secretary of state, who heads exxon, we know exxon lost upwards to a billion dollars in 2014. so that might potentially, or some folks in some quarters are concerned that it might form the way he thinks about the sanctions. of course, it would be a change in foreign policy for the sanctions to be in place for just a few weeks and immediately to be overturned. it is hard to game at it. we will be paying attention to what trump says about it. >> pushing forward on that question, the president of the united states has only three weeks to go before donald trump takes the oath of office. so the question many are asking, the trump team is accusing the obama administration of playing politics here. listen here to how kellyanne conway, a trump senior adviser, describes it. >> i will tell you that even those who are sympathetic to president obama on most issues are saying that part of the reason he did this today was to,
quote, box in president-elect trump. that would be very unfortunate if that were the moat -- if politics were the motivating factor here, but we can't help but think it is often true. even the "new york times" characterized it as such, that it may be an attempt to box him in to see what he will do as president. that's not the way peaceful demonstrations work in our great democracy. >> the obama administration at one point was criticized for not speaking up, doing more during the election itself when it had this information. you will remember that was back in october. so now the question, you know, three weeks to go before president obama is out, donald trump is in, is this a matter of playing politics? >> well, politics always enters into these decisions, but listen to the republican leadership in the house and senate. what did they say today? while they backed what president obama was doing, they actually wanted stronger action and they criticized obama for not doing
this earlier. i think there's a better case to be made that obama didn't take action in october because he thought that hillary clinton was going to win and that it might play into donald trump's attempts to call the election rigged if he had taken action against russia at that time. so that's when the politics came into play. i don't think you can fault president obama for taking some action against the russians, assuming he has the information that proves russia was responsible, and just about everybody in the intelligence community says that that's exactly what happened. >> well, you know house speaker paul ryan issued a statement that appears at odds with donald trump. let's quote him. russia does not share america's interests. in fact, it has consistently sought to undermine them, sowing
dangerous seeds around the world. betsy to you, republicans are sending mixed messages. some blame the dnc for lack of security, some deny russia's involvement. where exactly does the party stand? >> you know, i think most of the criticism of the dnc and most defense of russia is coming from folks in trump's immediate, very close circle because they're still trying to push this narrative russia might not necessarily be responsible, that we don't know enough, that we don't have conclusive information. for the most part though outside of that sort of insular campaign, post-campaign transition team sector of the republican party, which is quite powerful, of course, but outside of that the general consensus, the mainstream view in the gop is that russia has overreached, it has become too militant, that it's insurge ens in ukraine are deeply troubling. that's why so many are supporting not just the
sanctions that obama has put in place but also in gunning for even more sanctions to be implemented in the future. and, of course, it is not just republicans who believe that. adam shif, one of the most influential members of the house of representatives and democrat on works on oversight issues believes the u.s. should ramp up sanctions against russia in the next congress. >> we appreciate both of your insights. thank you. >> thank you. the syrian ceasefire enters its first full day, but even the key players admit it is fragile. coming up here, what has to happen to make this deal stick. ♪
welcome back to news room. syrians are holding out hope this hour that a new ceasefire will hold after nearly six years of non-stop war. take a look at this. this is what it is like in syria in many of the cities there, just destroyed, ravaged by war. russia and turkey brokered a nationwide peace deal between the syrian regime and a number of rebel groups fighting, but it is worth noting many groups were excluded from the deal. >> the u.s. is on the outside looking in as talks went on without washington.
however, the kremlin is inviting in coming president donald trump to join in as soon as he takes office. ian lee is monitoring the ceasefire from istanbul, turkey. he joins me live. certainly so much on the line here with this one, ian. how is it going so far and how long has the ceasefire been under way? >> reporter: well, natalie, it started at midnight local time here. we've talked to people on the ground and they've told us so far it has remained quiet. this is a staged process though, and the first stage they are looking for just a cessation of hostilities between the rebel factions and the syrian regime and their allies. this is being brokered by turkey, who is overseeing the rebel side, and russia, who is overseeing the syrian regime side. the second part is to have a mechanism so if there are any violations they're able to talk it out. and then the third is to have negotiations for a final peace deal which will take place next
month. now, both sides have admitted this is fragile, but when you look at the battlefield right now, the momentum is with the syrian regime and the russians. after taking aleppo, they have control over the major cities in the country on the western side. so the rebels more focused in the countryside. they have been on the defensive. so it seems like for the rebels a good time to negotiate, especially for the russian side, as they are in a position of power. >> right. so what could derail this ceasefire, ian? >> reporter: a lot of different things could derail it, natalie. first, you just have to look at the different factions, there's so many of them, and not all of the players are on board with this so far. you also have other international players like saudi arabia and qatar. we haven't heard if they're going to stop funding groups or at least come on board with these negotiations. also, the status of syrian
president bashar al assad, that will be a major sticking point, too, whether he is allowed to stay or if he's forced to go. turkey for the longest time has said that he must go. when the other factions too, you have an al qaeda associated group, they're not part of this, isis is not part of it. so you have these other factions. it is very fragile as both sides have said. >> we certainly hope it holds and they can move on to what is next, hopefully. ian lee for us there in istanbul for us. thank you. the syrian civil war has been going on for six devastating long years. the human death toll has been horrendous. >> and the violence still hasn't completely ended. our phil black looks back on how we got here. >> reporter: political graffiti, that's how it all started in the
syrian city of data ar. children were arrested for the crime and the street responded. huge, peaceful demonstrations demanded change. the syrian government's response wasn't peaceful. that crackdown began driving people from their homes, from their own country. these were among the first in what was to become a wave of refugees seeking safety beyond syria's borders. eventually demonstrators and activists became rebels. they picked up weapons and fought back. civil war has torn syria apart for almost six years as the world watched and talked. u.n. security council resolutions were vetoed by russia and china. international negotiations floundered. ceasefires were ignored.
all while seemingly endless images have documented suffering on a scale difficult to comprehend. we've seen the faces of whole communities and during bombardment and starvation like here in damascus. stories of syria's children repeatedly da repeatedly dam the world's impotence like those gasping for breath after a chemical attack. president obama said this would be a red line. it wasn't. the body of inan face down on a beach after his family's failed attempt to reach europe. and a stunned little boy dusty and bleeding after being pulled from rubble in aleppo. syria's uninterrupted chaos allowed isis to evolve into a powerful force. the world had a front line view has it too the might of the american air power to drive them away from a city on the border.
the group proved brutality with videos including the execution of foreigners. isis showed it can project terror far beyond its syrian banks. the west's limited intervention in syria also provided opportunity for russia. in september 2015 its air force began striking the enemy's of syria's regime with devastating affect. that campaign recently broke the opposition's desperate resistance in the city of aleppo while inspiring western critics to accuse russia of war crimes. now only weeks later, russia and turkey say they've finally found a diplomatic way forward in a war that's devastated the country and destabilized the region. more than 11 million people, around half of syria's population, have been forced from their homes. 400,000 have been killed. for almost six years intense
hatreds have been deepened through blood and loss. the heartbreaking realities of syria's war leave little space to optimism, despite this latest effort of diplomacy. phil black, cnn, london. still ahead, a man who says that he was hired as a hit man in order to kill. >> and the man he claims was his boss. the philippine president. we'll have more of his shocking allegations coming up here on "cnn newsroom." with the xfinity tv app,
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i'm natalie allen. >> i'm george howell. this is "cnn newsroom" with the headlines we're following this year. u.s. president barack obama is retaliating against russia for alleged election meddling. the president ordered sanctions against six russian individuals and five russian entities, in addition 35 russian diplomats have been ordered out of the united states. russia has vowed to respond. >> the u.s. military said it is aware of movements by the leader of isis over the past few weeks. a u.s. official wouldn't say whether abu bakr al baghdadi is in syria oraa iraq. there had been no signs of him in months. the u.s. is offering a $25 million reward for information leading to his capture. >> in brazil a burned out car is the best clue yet in the disappearance of greece's ambassador to that country. a body was discovered inside that car but it has not been identified. the vehicle discovered thursday matches the description of the ambassador's rental car. he was last seen monday visiting
friends in the suburb of rio. >> the philippine president is walking back his earlier claim that he threw someone out of a helicopter. rodrigo duerte spoke with philippine thursday contradicting comments he made earlier this week. >> in a televised speech tuesday he said he had in fact thrown someone off a helicopter and he would do it again to anyone who misused public funds. earlier this month mr. duerte said he had personally killed criminal suspects when he was the mayor of devo city. in that interview with cnn philippines on thursday, mr. twar tae implied he was playing with the media with his claims about violence, but a man who once says he worked for the philippine president insists it is no joke. >> he says he was part of a death squad and killed on mr. duerte's orders. our will ripley has more in this cnn exclusive.
>> reporter: edgar matobato says he and philippine president have something in common, they both have blood on their hands. >> translator: i want him to pay for what he did, for the many killings he ordered, he says. if we bring back the death penalty, i hope duerte is the first to hang. and then i will follow. decades before the president took his bloody war on drugs nationwide, matobato says he was part of a group known in the philippines as devout death suede. a 2008 investigation found a shadowy band of assassins was committing hundreds of murders, targeting street children and criminals, all during duerte's long run as the southern city's gun toting, crime fighting mayor beginning in 1988. i personally killed around 50 people, ma people, mat bought owe says. he shows us a journal with names and date of some of his victims,
written by his wife because he can't read or write. he also showed his city id. he says he was a ghost employee, earning just $100 a month to murder on command. >> reporter: who was ordering the death squad to kill all of these people? we got the orders from mayor duerte, he says. cnn cannot verify his story, but matobato's testimony before a hearing shocked the philippines. the president's office says he changed some details in his story. >> very inconsistent. if you go through the transcript in the senate, you will see for yourself that matobato is lying through his teeft. >> says if the testimony was credible police would have built a case. >> the davo death squad people are talking about, this is a legend. it is a legend.
there's no death squad. >> i did kill. i was only three months mayor. >> reporter: duerte told me he personally gunned down three people while mayor of davo to set an example for his officers. in media interviews he says he doesn't remember matobato and denies ordering vigilante killings. we meet in a safe house several hours from manila. he has moved at least ten times in the last year and is currently facing charges of kidnapping and illegal firearms possession. i was told to cut the body parts into pieces, he says. matobato claims they dumped bodies in crocodile farms, in the streets and even in mass graves, but those graves have never been found. >> reporter: why are you the only one who has come forward? >> he says many of them are
scared. if we try to change we're killed. >> reporter: so you think if they find you they'll kill you? . they will kill me, he says, because now their secrets have been revealed. matobato says he is eager to confess his sins, to shine a light on the dark reality between the president's deadly drug war. will ripley, cnn, manila. >> really strange from president duerte there. thank you, will ripley. the process of peace in the middle east seems perpetually bleak, but u.s. president-elect donald trump is making big promises. >> especially in the wake of the u.n. resolutions, the one calling on israel to stop building settlements in palestinian territories. while donald trump says he will be strong for israel, critics say he could hurt a future peace deal. warren lieberman joins us live
in jerusalem. good to have you. i know many israeli leaders are counting down the day for donald trump to take the oath of office and are expecting a change. >> very much so. there's no doubt prime minister benjamin netanyahu can't wait for the next three weeks to go over. he has made it clear he is done working with president obama. trump said he would like to work on an israeli/palestinian peace deal. that's not uncommon. but he made big promises, saying he could be the one to put forward or seal the ultimate deal essentially, bringing the two sides together. yet the palestinians are cautious here. they're being political, saying they're willing to work to any american president committing to two state solution with east jerusalem as the capital of a palestinian state, but some of trump's statements make that in jeopardy. >> i'm very strong on israel. i think israel has been treated unfairly by a lot of people.
>> reporter: president-elect donald trump says he can do what no president has done in half a century, solve the israeli/palestinian conflict, calling it the ultimate deal and suggesting his jewish son-in-law jared kushner may be a part of the plan. trump tweeting the recent resolution on israeli settlements was a big loss and will make it harder to negotiate peace, but saying he will get it done anyway. the president-elect has promised to move the u.s. embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem and recognize the holy city as capital. the move welcomed by israel, condemned by the palestinians as death of a two-state solution. the unprecedented intervention coming as relations between benjamin netanyahu and president obama are as bad as ever. the obama administration led talks between israel and pal palestinians in 2010 and again in 2013. the last round led by secretary of state john kerry broke down with both sides blaming each other.
two months later israel and gaudsa were at war. tensions have worsened since then as the region descended into another round of violence late last year. prime minister netanyahu and milwaukee moud abecause shook hands at the funeral for israeli president shimon peres who shared a nobel peace prize. it was the close they came to talking publicly in years. in time we will find out if president-elect trump can change that. >> trump certainly brings an outsiders perspective to the conflict, that of a businessman and not a politician. maybe, just maybe that's what the conflict needs. and yet, george, presidents have always treaded very lightly when it comes to the conflict, treading lightly is something trump is not quite known for doing. >> or inlieberman life for us in jerusalem. we will have to see how it plays out after january 20th. thank you.
>> up next, our latest freedom project report. former sex trafficking victims getting help with unique donations. that's coming next. ♪ i should take a closer look at geico... geico has a long history of great savings and great service. over seventy-five years. wait. seventy-five years? that is great. speaking of great, check out these hot riffs. you like smash mouth? uh, yeah i have an early day tomorrow so... wait. almost there. goodnight, bruce. gotta tune the "a." (humming) take a closer look at geico. great savings. and a whole lot more.
♪ the cnn freedom project, following the journey of sex trafficking survivors around the world. >> in this report cnn's shasta darling to takes a look at free the girls, a nonprofit rescuing women and girls from sex trafficking in el salvador to start their own businesses. >> reporter: 21-year-old madison is going to work. she has an unusual job, selling gently used bras in the markets of el salvador. she makes good money and dreams of one day owning her own business, a dream she never
could have imagined just a few years ago. >> translator: i didn't know what human trafficking was until i got to the safe house. >> reporter: madison is a survivor of child sex trafficking, and the bras she sells part of a unique reintegration program by a nonprofit called "free the girls." >> when we started we had this idea, and the idea was this bra could change a woman's life, and we really did not have any idea how much those women would change their own lives. >> reporter: we first met kim and dave sterpstra shortly after they started free the girl in 2011. the plan was for kimba to collect donations of new and gently used bras in the u.s. and send them to dave in mozambique, africa where sex trafficking survivors could sell them in the used clothing markets there, providing them with a steady income that would prevent them
from becoming vulnerable to traffickers again. >> the whole goal was to be a very simple project, very garage sort of project, where kimba would select a few bags worth of bras and send them over in suitcases and things like that. >> we thought we would work with one partner in mozambique, have a handful of women, maybe bring bras over a few times a year and that would be it. and so we never could have imagined how it exploded. >> and now we've collect over half a million bras, sent them to three different locations around the world, helped dozens and dozens of women. >> reporter: tripstra says free the girls expanded to el salvador balls of danielle and john snyder, they run a nonprofit that works with sex trafficking survivors. >> i remember early on when i started working with free the girls, one of the cofounders says a woman wears a bra close to her heart. i love that a woman in the united states can donate her bra and it will come here and help
the girls in our program. >> reporter: girls like madison who at just 14 years old was lured into a sex trafficking ring. >> translator: we had to have sex with them and do whatever they asked us to. >> reporter: madison was held captive for an entire year, forced to have sex with multiple men every day, until she escaped. today they speaks triumphantly about her recovery and her future. >> translator: it is my dream to have my own business and keep selling bras and other things like clothes, but at my own business. >> reporter: when she is not selling bras, madison volunteers at mission to el salvador, working with the homeless. she says she wants to serve others as a way to thank god for her recovery. i asked her where she would be without the help she received here. >> translator: well, i wouldn't be telling you this story. i would be dead or, i don't know, in a worst situation i was
before. i wouldn't be here and i wouldn't have recovered. >> it is hard. it is very difficult to hear their stories. there's nothing easy about it, and it is hard not to carry that. it is hard not to carry that. for me to be able to have the opportunity to help them, it is worth it, to be part of the process of helping them to find healing. >> reporter: today madison's freedom comes with the money she earns by selling secondhand bras donated by strangers. yet they are connected. >> it is very personal and there's something very poetic about the fact that something that you wore so close to your heart can make the difference in the life of a woman halfway across the world and really, truly help change the trajectory of her life for generations to come, and that's beautiful. >> reporter: shasta darlington, cnn, san salvador, el salvador.
>> if you would like to help the nonprofit, you can head to freethegirls.org to find out how to donate a bra or give money to that important cause. >> next here on "cnn newsroom," parts of the u.s. are being sock by a major snowstorm. we will have your forecast. we will give times-union latest right after this. ♪
. all right. well, take a look at this. this is portland, maine, everyone, a major snowstorm is clobbering this area. >> look at all of that snow. by the time it is all over, more than a foot of snow could be dumped on some parts of the north eastern united states. our meteorologist is here to tell us about the situation up there. i've been up there before. they mean business when they get their snow. >> absolutely. it is a fascinating setup because just 40 miles is the distance between where it transitions out of rain and into snow and heavy snow where you saw there across new england, but the big cities, boss non-new york, even philly, it is all rain, way too warm. i want to show you footage out of that area because they were hit with blizzard like conditions in canada where we know out of montreal airport 500
flights were delayed or cancelled, vast majority out of toronto delayed, that's the biggest number of delayed flights on canada out of toronto. we know about 30 centimeters of snow or about a foot across montreal. look at the graphic there. the officials saying as we prep for getting the roads cleared for the new user's festivities saturday night, over 10,000 kilometers or 6,200 miles of roads and sidewalks have plowed in the next couple of days. that's the equivalent plowing from new york to los angeles and back towards new york city and even a little more than that in the next couple of days. tells you how much work is ahead of them across the cities towards the north. here with cancellations, almost 200 flights cancelled on thursday, almost 2500 flights delayed in the united states on thursday as well. notice the lake-enhanced snowshowers in place but there's the spin out of places such as maine where the storm is exiting the picture.
everything will begin to quiet down quickly, but up 22 feet came down in less than a day, an incredible number across portions of new england, that's 2 feet. it blustery on friday and new year's eve. the next disturbance comes in, less snowfall in the next couple of days as the initial one exits the picture. a storm to tell you about around the western part of the united states. our friends across parts of california getting beneficial rainfall coming in. you have to get around 7500 feet or so high there for it to transition into cold air to get snow out of this, but there's the center of spin right there. you notice rain in the forecast for los angeles, for san diego, for palm springs. this is wonderful news. you get above the higher elevations in the sierras, it is important to note 30% to 40% of the drinking water for the state of california comes from sierra snow melt, and we know how dire it has been as far as not only
not getting rainfall but the transition into snow, i say snow is like money in the bank because it melts and melts gradually so you can tap into it later in the warm season. if you don't get any in the cold season, you have little hope, and at least we're getting some now. >> that's good news. >> absolutely. >> thank you. all right. we end the hour with some good news. tennis star serena williams is getting married. >> game, selt, match. she is engaged to alexis ohanian, the cofounder of reddit. he popped the question while they were vacationing in rome. and williams posted this cartoon proclaiming, i said yes. if the diamond was that big, i guess. >> i guess yes. the former number one champ has dated ohanian about a year. no word on a wedding date. >> new power couple. >> indeed. thank you for being with us. i'm george howell. >> i'm natalie articllen. "early start" is here next for "early start" is here next for viewers in the united states.
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happening now. the russians finalizing a response to unprecedented sanctions levelled by the white house over this year's election hack. how will moscow fight back? we're live in russia. a new cease-fire taking effect in syria after five years of bloodshed. is this enough to get the two sides talking about lasting peace? and they are getting ready to party in times square. security is being stepped up ahead